Why Biking is Good for You and the Community

by Sam Thrush, Planner, Franklin County Government

Sam Thrush with BikeI started riding a bicycle out of necessity. We are a one car household and my wife needed to use the car, so cycling became my main mode of transportation. I ride about 1 mile to and from work every day. I ride to mid-day meetings and to get lunch. When the weather is awesome and our grocery list is short, I bike to the market or the grocery store. I ride to downtown and stop at various storefronts. I complete many of my errands on my bicycle.

Bicycling may have started out of necessity, but now it is my preferred mode of transportation. Not only are the health benefits great, but it has also become a fun (and economical) family leisure activity. Now I can easily crank out 30 miles within 2 hours and 15 minutes. I am hoping to ride a 42-mile course in June.

As a healthy activity, cycling transforms your lower body, boosts your cardio-vascular system and helps you lose weight. When I am not using my commuting bicycle, I use my road bicycle to get exercise. Twenty miles are nothing to me anymore and the ride is enjoyable. I get to see the beautiful countryside, climb hills and explore new paths.

Biking can be more than just exercise, too. Occasionally on my rides I partake in ice cream or adult beverages. Trickling Springs and the Historic Ice Cream Station are regular stops during recreational family rides. When I am with a friend, generally we stop at Roy-Pitz or Gearhouse Brewing.

In addition to personal benefits of bicycling, there are also economic benefits for communities that embrace bicycle-friendly infrastructure. The Borough of Chambersburg is currently working with a consultant and group of community stakeholders on a Bike and Pedestrian Improvement Plan to evaluate the existing bike and pedestrian infrastructure and make recommendations on how to improve it. I serve on the committee and am excited about the opportunities this process will bring for our community.

18422836_1409314075800090_3666625403137138781_oWhy am I sharing my story about bicycling in the Chambersburg area? May is National Bike Month and I encourage everyone to bike this month to celebrate – or to take it a step further and make biking a regular activity.

Recently, the Franklin County Commissioners and Mayor of Chambersburg proclaimed Friday, May 19 National Bike to Work Day. On Saturday, May 20, two rides will happen to promote National Bike Month: A kids ride (about 1 mile) and an adult ride (6.5 miles).  These two rides are entirely in-town and are designed to give riders confidence to ride in-town and to demonstrate how to ride within a town setting. (More details)

Locally, the Franklin County Cyclists host recreational rides on Tuesday nights starting in April and concluding in the fall. There is something for everyone. They have four to five courses for every ride. [AF2] Some courses are 8 to 10 miles and others 24 to 32 miles. On the first ride for 2017 about 200 riders came out.

So, whether you bike to work, cycle for exercise or simply enjoy a leisurely ride with family and friends on occasion, there are countless benefits for you and the greater community. I hope to see you on the road soon!


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